F1: Ricciardo Should Get Red Bull Seat Over Raikkonen - Vergne Photo:

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TMR Team | Jul, 24 2013 | 7 Comments

Jean-Eric Vergne has admitted he would prefer to see teammate Daniel Ricciardo become the next driver at Red Bull Racing.

Although Red Bull, and the French driver himself, are not ruling out Vergne's chances, boss Christian Horner has effectively admitted that Ricciardo is fighting for the 2014 vacancy against Kimi Raikkonen.

Toro Rosso driver Vergne, 23, is quoted by Austria's Kronen Zeitung: "I think it's my teammate Daniel Ricciardo who should get the job, not Kimi Raikkonen.

"We are both doing a good job at Toro Rosso, and the team is getting better with every race."

Vergne acknowledged that Australian Ricciardo has earned contention for the departing Mark Webber's seat alongside Sebastian Vettel.

But he also thinks that if Ricciardo does well at Red Bull, that will also reflect well on himself.

"If Daniel, who at the moment is doing better than me, is running alongside Sebastian Vettel, it will show the quality of the young (development) drivers of Red Bull.

"If it is said that I am not consistent, then I have to point out that after my sixth in Canada, I had two retirements due to mechanical problems," Vergne added.

An article in the latest edition of Italian magazine Italiaracing claims Raikkonen will ultimately line up at Red Bull next year, with Ricciardo replacing him at Lotus.


Pay-driver label 'completely wrong' - Sirotkin

Sergey Sirotkin, set to smash the record next year as the youngest ever F1 racer, has hit back at claims he is a "pay driver".

The 17-year-old's father is a key figure among the Russian entities that have bailed out the ailing Sauber.

Currently just ninth in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, behind highly rated drivers like the McLaren-backed Kevin Magnussen, and the likely next Toro Rosso driver Antonio Felix da Costa, Sirotkin's fast-track to the grid has earned him the 'pay driver' label.

"That is completely wrong," Sirotkin told Basler Zeitung newspaper. "There is much more to it. We are talking about a big project, where another driver could have been selected.

"It's not an investment in me, it's about the big picture," he insisted.

"It's not that I'm going to drive in F1 for fun, I have been selected because of my performance. I want people to respect what I do.

"It's about the promotion of formula one in Russia. And it's also quite normal that the driver also brings a sponsor, just as Fernando Alonso brings Santander bank to Ferrari," added Sirotkin.

But some of the criticism of Sirotkin's 2014 move to Sauber is also because of his age -- currently, he is still just 17, too young to apply for a road drivers' license in Russia.

Asked if he is arguably too young for F1, he admitted: "Yes, that's right. It may be that I'm not 100 per cent ready, but I still have half a year to prepare.

"That should be enough," Sirotkin added.

"Maybe our results in the World Series are insufficient, but you can still see that we have the speed. We just need a little bit more luck in the races."

One of those questioning Sirotkin's preparedness for F1 is Jenson Button, who in the past has admitted that, at 20, he himself made his debut too early.

"I began racing at 8," the Briton is quoted by Russia's Championat, "but even at twenty, realistically speaking, it was too early.

"I had to learn about the sport from the inside. On the one hand, it's good, but on the other hand, you can't hide.

"I think another year in the junior categories would have helped me come to formula one much more prepared," added Button.

"I was not ready at 17. Maybe he is, I don't know, but he needs to be careful. Formula one is a tough business."



Petrov, Kobayashi say money halting F1 returns

A lack of sponsors are keeping former podium-getters Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi out of formula one.

After losing his Caterham seat and also the services of former manager Oksana Kosachenko, Russian Petrov has revealed he is now working with a new manager "from the West".

And the former Renault driver told Russia's Championat he is already in talks with several teams.

"They said that they are willing to cooperate, willing to negotiate," he revealed.

"But to continue these talks, I need some support."

Another driver currently on F1's sidelines is Kamui Kobayashi, the hugely popular Japanese who lost his Sauber seat a mere five races after standing on the podium.

Today, he is a sports car driver for Ferrari, and whilst demonstrating a F1 car for the famous marque in Moscow last weekend, he lost control and crashed.

Still, he yearns for real F1 action again.

"At the moment," said Kobayashi, "there are many teams who prefer to choose their drivers based on how much money they can bring, rather than on their ability on track.

"I hope this trend will change, because my aim is to be back there as soon as possible and I am working hard to succeed."



Criticism 'a deterrent' for Pirelli successors - Surer

F1 teams will only have themselves to blame if they are left without tyres next year, according to a leading commentator.

Pirelli's increasingly vocal Paul Hembery has warned that the sport should "find someone else" if the rules and the criticism are not tempered to better treat F1's official tyre supplier.

Marc Surer, a former driver from Switzerland who is now a prominent German-speaking commentator, said alternate marques like Michelin and Bridgestone could enter F1 "at short notice" to replace a departing Pirelli "if they wanted to".

But would they want to?

Surer pointed out that Pirelli's tenure since 2011, and the last few months in particular, have been characterised by extreme criticism.

"That was not very clever of the teams," Surer told Germany's Sport1.

"After all, F1 costs a tyre manufacturer a lot of money, but if all they will get is bad publicity, then that is absolutely a deterrent," he concluded.



Ecclestone, Red Bull, agree deal for 2014 Austria GP

Bernie Ecclestone has agreed a deal with Dietrich Mateschitz for a grand prix at the renovated and relaunched Red Bull Ring in 2014.

The energy drink company, headed by Austrian billionaire and F1 team owner Mateschitz, stunned the formula one world with the news that was delivered via a brief statement early on Tuesday.

Austria last hosted a grand prix, held at the same Spielberg circuit then known as the A1-Ring, in 2003.

"Dietrich Mateschitz and Bernie Ecclestone have reached an agreement to the effect that formula one will return to Styria next year," Tuesday's statement read.

However, subsequent media reports, including by the German news agencies SID and DPA, clarified that the race will in fact only take place on July 6 next year if "all necessary regulatory approvals" are given.


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